Grammar 5 min read

The Best Selection of the Longest Words in English

We’ve all been there: trying to pronounce chemical names on the back of a shampoo bottle. No surprise one of the longest words in English is the chemical name for the human titin protein.

One of the longest English words has over 180,000 letters. Spelling it would take 57 pages, so we won’t drag it out here. With that said, there are plenty of other big words in the English language. So, we’ve listed some of them using much smaller words in this article.

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Main Takeaways:

  • The average English word has 4.5 letters.
  • Many of the longest words in English are scientific or medical terms.
  • Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis has 45 letters.
  • Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism has 30 letters.
  • Prefixes and compounds can increase word length.

In this article, we’ve compiled some of the longest words for anyone who appreciates the English language. So, prepare yourself because your vocabulary is about to get much bigger—pun intended.

Ever wondered what the longest words in English language are?
Ever wondered what the longest words in English language are?

How Long is the Average Word?

Before we discuss big words, let’s start with some basics. The average English word contains 4.5 letters. The longest words in English dictionaries have significantly more letters than that.

Nearly 60% of English words have at least one ‘e’ in them. ‘T’ comes in second, as it appears in 47.3% of words. Meanwhile, ‘Z’ finds a home in just 0.3% of words, with ‘q’ not far behind at 0.5%.

Why are Some Words So Long?

We often see a word with lots of letters and wonder what happened. Why would anyone create such a long word? Technically, some word formation rules result in big words. For instance, Long words often contain multiple prefixes or compound terms.

“Great” is a prefix that can significantly alter the length of a word. Genetics aside, you can use “great” as many times as you want for family titles. Make sure to use hyphens in between the “great” prefixes, and not commas.

Grandma’s grandma often baked cookies with my great-great-great-great-aunt.
Our great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was a hardworking farmer.
My mom says I get my blue eyes from my great-great-great-grandma.

Compound words can also get long. This is especially true when writers hyphenate adjectives. These words can easily become three- or four-word compounds.

Prefixes and compounds can make words really, really, really long!
Prefixes and compounds can make words really, really, really long!

Three-Word Hyphenated Compounds

  • Do-it-yourself
  • Salt-and-pepper
  • Remote-robot-assisted
  • New-and-improved

Four-Word Hyphenated Compounds

  • Run-of-the-mill
  • State-of-the-art
  • Too-big-to-fail
  • Chocolate-chip-milkshake-loving

You may have seen even longer compounds than these. For example, perhaps you viewed a blink-and-you-missed-it theatrical run.

What’s the Longest English Word?

The longest word in the English language has 189,819 letters. We’d love to share it, but it’s 57 pages long, which means a lot of scrolling! So, the word we’re talking about here refers to a chemical compound called titin. For the uninitiated, titin is a human protein found in our vertebral muscle.

Titin’s official term is 189,819 words because it follows traditional protein-naming guidelines. Proteins’ names are typically derived from their contributing chemicals. Titin has a lengthy chemical list.

Reading a dictionary can help you improve your vocabulary and discover big words that you can use to impress your peers.
Reading a dictionary can help you improve your vocabulary and discover big words that you can use to impress your peers.
Fun fact: It would take 3.5 hours to say the official name for titin out loud.

Some lexicographers consider titin a verbal formula rather than an official word. Lexicographers are the language experts who help create dictionaries. Traditional dictionaries don’t have room for lengthy words such as the scientific term for titin.

What are Some of the Longest Words in English?

Many big words are scientific or medical terms. Normally, scientists combine several ingredients and traits to form these scientific terms. Meanwhile, medical terms often contain prefixes and suffixes.

Most of us don’t have hours to pronounce the scientific term for titin. However, you can impress your friends with these long words:

1. lopado­temacho­selacho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­hypo­trimmato­silphio­parao­melito­katakechy­meno­kichl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opte­kephallio­kigklo­peleio­lagoio­siraio­baphe­tragano­pterygon (182 letters) – a fictional meal referenced in Assemblywomen, a comedy by Aristophanes.

2. pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters) – a synonym for silicosis. Silicosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling silica. It’s also the longest word that you’ll find in most well-known dictionaries.

3. supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34 letters) – a nonsense word featured in Mary Poppins. Admit it: You sang this word rather than read it.

4. pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (30 letters) – a genetic medical condition similar to pseudohypoparathyroidism.

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis refers to a lung disease. It is also the longest word that you can find in any of the major English dictionaries available today.
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis refers to a lung disease. It is also the longest word that you can find in any of the major English dictionaries available today.

5. floccinaucinihilipilification (29 letters) – the act of finding something worthless or without value. Finally, a nontechnical word on our list!

6. antidisestablishmentarianism (28 letters) – a political stance that opposes disestablishment. While many people assume antidisestablishmentarianism is the longest word in the English language, it’s not. In fact, it has 12 syllables only.

7. honorificabilitudinitatibus (27 letters) – with honorableness. This is an interesting word because it alternates consonants and vowels.

In Short…

Ridiculously long words can make for interesting trivia, but, let’s face it, few will benefit from adding these monstrosities to their vocabulary. But if you’re looking for a lengthy word that could net you a world record, try oxyphenbutazone. It’s believed to be the highest-scoring word that can be played in a game of Scrabble (1,458 points on an outside edge).

Quick Longest Words in English Grammar Quiz

Longest Words in English Question #1

The most common letter in English words is “e.”
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is TRUE. Nearly 60 percent of English words have at least one “e” in them.

Longest Words in English Question #2

Which sentence is incorrect?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is B. An average English word has 4.5 letters.

Longest Words in English Question #3

The least common letter in English words is “q.”
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is False. “Z” is the least common letter, present in 0.3 percent of English words. On the other hand, “q” is present in 0.5 percent of English words.

Longest Words in English Question #4

How many letters are in the word incomprehensibilities?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is B. This plural form of incomprehensibility describes things or events that are difficult to understand.

Read More: Hyphen vs. Dash: Size Matters in Punctuation

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Krista Grace Morris

Krista heads up Marketing and Content Creation here at INK. From Linguistics and History to puns and memes, she's interested in the systems we create to share our ideas with each other.

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